Eclairs and Cream Puffs (VG)

Ingredients

Pastry shells:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 eggs

Cream puff filling:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Sugar to taste – about 1/4 cup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Eclair filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, optional

Steps

Pastry shells:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  2. Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan.
  3. Heat on medium heat until a rolling boil and butter is melted, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and add in flour all at once. Stir until well combined.
  5. Return to heat and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan, about 1 minute.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer to a stand mixer bowl.
  7. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly.
  8. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each egg. The mixture may look curdled at first but after mixing it should come together. Begin by adding 3 eggs. If the mixture seems slightly sticky and a smooth paste, stop there. If not, add in a fourth egg. This varies depending on the size of your eggs.
  9. Continue mixing for 2-3 minutes after last egg in added.
  10. Scoop all batter into a piping bag and pipe mounds or lines on lined baking sheet or use a cookie scoop to drop batter onto baking sheet.
  11. Continue with all batter.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes at 400° F, then reduce oven temperature to 350° F and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until pastries are a golden brown. Do not open the oven door while the pastries are baking.
  13. Once pastries are done baking, do not remove from oven, but turn the heat off and leave to cool for 10 – 20 minutes. Then, remove from oven, invert, and place a slit in the bottom of each pastry to let steam escape.
  14. Let cool fully.

Cream puff filling:

  1. Pour the cream into a mixing bowl.
  2. Begin to whip on high speed using a whisk attachment.
  3. Gradually add in sugar to taste as the cream whips.
  4. Continue whipping until stiff, although do not over-whip or else it will turn into a butter consistency.

Eclair filling:

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, stir together 1 1/4 cup of the milk, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium seat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the cornstarch, flour, remaining 1/4 cup milk, and egg yolks.
  3. Once the milk mixture has come to a simmer, whisk in about a 1/2 cup into the egg yolks, whisking vigorously, to temper the them. This keeps the yolks from cooking unevenly and looking like scrambled eggs.
  4. Pour in the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thickens and the boiling bubbles reach the center of the saucepan.
  6. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl.
  7. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.
  8. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the pastry cream to make sure a film does not form.
  9. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to a couple days.
  10. When ready to use, whip up the cream and fold in for a softer filling.

Assembly:

  1. Cut each pastry shell in half horizontally.
  2. Pipe or spoon pastry cream for eclairs or whipped cream for cream puffs in the center of each pastry.
  3. Let chill for at least 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

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